Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where were you on 9/11?

There are many defining moments in every generation. Historical or personal events that are either distinct, or dramatic enough to be etched into our consciousness. 

For those who grew up in the 60's, everyone will tell you where they were when President Kennedy was shot. Or where they were when Neil Armstrong was landing on the Moon.

The 80's were probably defined by the fall of the Berlin Wall (or maybe when you saw E.T. for the first time).

But, as a 37 year old, my generation will, or already is defined by the tragic day of 9/11. The most brutal act of terrorism on U.S. soil since the attacks on Pearl Harbor single-handedly changed the policies and attitudes of everyone who cherishes democracy.

I distinctly remember exactly where I was an what I was doing on what started out as a beautiful September morning. I was preparing to leave on a flight. At the time, I was working for Matrox, and was preparing to leave for the largest video production tradeshow in Europe, IBC. Some of my colleagues were already on site, preparing the booth, but on 9/11, it was my turn to fly in.

My wife, who at the time was working at Montreal's MIX96 radio station, called me with panic in her voice, urging me to put on the TV. Something terrible had happened. As I tuned to CNN, I saw smoke billowing and flames shooting out of the first tower to be hit. Not yet knowing at the time what had happened, and with my suitcases still packed, ready to leave for Amsterdam, I sat stunned staring at the TV.

And then the second plane hit.

It then became clear what was happening.

I then quickly called Matrox to let them know that it was obvious, I wouldn't be taking a plane that day. My colleagues and friends who had just landed in Amsterdam the night before, and I, who was about to take off, narrowly averted getting mixed up in this nightmare.

At the time, I was also living in the Bois Franc area of St-Laurent, where planes routinely and frequently flew overhead, pretty low to the ground. I distinctly remember the eerie quiet in the skies up above, as all air traffic suddenly ground to a halt by late morning.

So it is on this day, that I always remember those who's lives were affected by the events of 9/11, and sincerely hope that my children's generation won't be defined by the gruesome realities of our past.

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